Dance Dance Dance is a haunting tale of the protagonist in finding his former lover who has cried out to him in his dream. Following the dream, he was later drawn into a surreal world full of bizarre characters and strange events. I find this book is a bit different as there were elements of mysticism, capitalism & politics which I have (yet) to find in his other books. These elements gratify the story & it added up the satisfaction even though the reading experience was a bit tedious and draggy, particularly in the earlier chapters.
I rated this book 4.5 out of 5 stars because personally Dance Dance Dance has awakened something in me as a reader – it was a charming and a teeny bit philosophical read with quotes of timeless wisdom, and also quite witty. Here are my ten favourite quotes from this book which I choose on an instinctive level because they are simply powerful and entertaining.
1. The protagonist wondering what it feels like to belong.
“Gazing at the rain, I consider what it means to belong, to become part of something. To have someone cry for me. From someplace distant, so very distant. From, ultimately, a dream. No matter how far I reach out, no matter how fast I run, I’ll never make it.”
2. The protagonist’ concern about capitalism.
“We live in an advanced capitalist society, after all. Waste is the name of the game, its greatest virtue. Politicians call it ‘refinements in domestic consumption.’ I call it meaningless waste.”
3. Again, criticism on capitalism.
“Advanced capitalism has transcended itself. Not to overstate things, financial dealings have practically becoming a religious activity. The new mysticism. People worship capital, adore its aura, genuflect before Porsches and Tokyo land values. Worshipping everything their shiny Porsches symbolize.”
4. The difference between machines and human being.
“With machines, the feeling is, well, more finite. It doesn’t go any further. With human, it’s different. The feeling is always changing. Like if you love somebody, the love is always shifting or wavering. It’s always questioning or inflating or disappearing or denying or hurting. And the thing is, you can’t do anything about it, you can’t control it. “
5. Gotanda describing Kiki.
“The girl had – maybe not talent exactly – she had the makings of…presence. She had something. she wasn’t really beautiful. She wasn’t a born actress. But you got the feeling that if she ever got on film, she could pull the whole frame into focus. And that’s talent, you know.”
6. The protagonist on the science of human peak.
“Humans achieve their peak in different ways. But whoever you are, once you’re over the summit, it’s downhill all the way. Nothing anyone can do about it. And the worst of it is, you never know where that peak is. You think you’re still going strong, when suddenly you’ve crossed the great divide. No one can tell. Some people peak at twelve, then lead rather uneventful lives from then on. Some carry on until they die; some die at their peak. Poets and composers have lived like furies, pushing themselves to such a pitch they’re gone by thirty. Then there are those like Picasso, who kept breaking ground until well past eighty.”
7. On love.
“People fall in love without reason, without even wanting to. You can’t predict it. That’s love.”
8. Easy regrets are useless.
“What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”
“Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regret. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.”
10. Things are never simple.
“People have their own reason for dying. It might look simple, but it never is. It’s just like a root. What’s above ground is only a small part of it. But if you start pulling, it keeps coming and coming. The human mind dwells deep in darkness. Only the person himself knows the real reason, and maybe not even then.”